The day was late when we reached Deurali, and the air was already quite chilly on this early December afternoon. We had just made our first major ascent from Shivalya, lugging our heavier-than-average backpacks up to an altitude of 2710 meters (8891 feet), and after leaving somewhat unfashionably late as per our usual protocol, we stopped in Deurali for an unquestionably late lunch break. The walk from Shivalaya to Lukla is rarely traveled these days because of the frequent availability of airplane flights, and this route sees on average less than 1000 trekkers a year, which is almost statistically insignificant when compared to the hoards of people drawn to the more popular high altitude treks. What we began to discover as we sat down to that late lunch in Deurali, and what the majority of trekkers who skip these lowlands to get right to the higher peaks unfortunately miss, is the delicious countryside Nepalese cuisine that can only be experienced by walking into these little villages tucked away in these lesser known foothills.Deurali is a small Sherpa village, and when we reached the top, huffing and puffing, tired and hungry, we were greeted to a small array of dwellings and guesthouses painted all the colors of the rainbow.We sat down at the guesthouse at the furthest edge of the village, and decided to order soup because the air temperature was dropping rapidly in the late afternoon. I ordered the egg drop soup, and because this was our first official lunch of our backpacking trip, I think I expected it to be on par with the egg drop soup that you get with your Chinese food take-out order back in America. Our host was a beautifully smiling Nepalese Sherpa woman, who spoke English better than anyone else we had met thus far in Nepal, and when she brought the soup to the table I was shocked to say the least. Admittedly I am no egg drop soup connoisseur, but I know a good soup when I taste one, and this egg drop soup was the best in the world. The soup had an entire fried omelet chopped into it with eggs laid from chickens roaming around freely, as well as fresh vegetables that we saw the host harvest directly from the garden out in the back. The broth was rich with bold flavors that warmed my insides as I gulped it down, and it was accompanied by our first taste of fresh yak cheese on the trip.
The consequence of waiting to consume such delicious food is that you lose critical time because you have to wait almost an hour for the host to cook it fresh. Our bellies full, we departed quickly as the light was already starting to fade, and finished our day, donned with our headlamps, hobbling downhill in the dark to Bhandar. This experience was completely worth it though, and I would gladly walk in the dark both ways to taste this soup again.